Entries Tagged 'Elections' ↓

No City or State Officials attend Covid Press Conference today in Sioux Falls

To say I am not surprised would be an understatement;

It was only Avera and Sanford doctors and media relations staff along journalists at Thursday’s news conference. In many previous news conferences, people with the South Dakota Department of Health or City of Sioux Falls have also attended. 

While I appreciate them reaching out, I ask why we are relying on the private sector to inform us? There is NO mention of this presser on any of the City of Sioux Falls multiple media sources.

A candidate for mayor said this in an interview;

Taneeza Islam, a lawyer who announced her run for mayor in October says the more information the people have on COVID-19 the better. She would like to see weekly updates from the mayor’s office and…

“When the city council voted to encourage masking, the people of Sioux Falls listened, all they needed was little extra encouragement, that was not a mandate, and I’m not talking about new regulations but just the mere encouragement for people in our community to take this seriously once again really explain how serious it is needs to come from the mayor’s office,” said Islam.

As I have mentioned before, the mayor’s job, according to charter is to not legislate and write policy, the job is running the day to day operations of the city. That means informing the public and instructing staff to keep the public safe, but he seems to want to blame people in Councilor Neitzert’s district for the problem;

“The northwest quadrant of our city for instance has a much lower vaccination rate than the rest of the city so we’ve done research to understand why is that and how can we counteract the messages whether it’s, in some cases its just availability and we’ve set up a mobile vaccine unit that goes out to those communities,” said TenHaken.

What I find ironic is that TenHaken, with the power of executive order, could mandate a vaccination requirement for ALL city employees, or at least those in close contact with the public, he doesn’t need the blessing of the city council. I see police officers all the time not even wearing masks in public. Towards the end of the story, Tom Hansen said that the mayor said the city is dealing with skeleton crews in many city departments because of (covid) sick city employees. I have argued that a vaccination mandate for city employees is a taxpayer protection for our investment in their health and well being. What do you think it is costing us as citizens for healthcare costs associated with covid for employees who choose NOT to be vaccinated? I have even said we should give city employees a bonus for getting a shot.

Islam went a step further on her FB page;

Being mayor isn’t just sharing good news, it means having hard conversations about challenges facing our community. It means using the tools in your toolbox to keep our city safe.

I like that last sentence 🙂

Besides Covid, this city faces many more challenges, but you will never hear it from Poops. I have no issues with the power of positivity, I have no issues with having faith in a higher power, I have no issues with lauding the great things going on in Sioux Falls. But effective leaders take the good with the bad. Mayor Poops philosophy is we just ignore the bad, hide in your basement, tell some dad jokes, heat up the gravy and it may just go away.

Sioux Falls Female Mayoral Candidate Panera Limchikans comments on stubbing her toe

I found this comment in an article on turkeyvulture605 interesting from a mayoral candidate;

I’m glad I was wearing closed toe sandals,” she added. “Get your closed toe sandals. We know people who wear them are less likely to get it in a bad way and be hospitalized. I still think just the confusion among people is so great, it’s hard to correct at this point, especially if you are used to wearing open toe sandals.”

So which kind should you wear? It’s hard to know if you should sacrifice safety for being fashionable? Will Panera support a closed toe sandal mandate if she is elected? Where’s my right to show off my pretty painted toe nails?

*I wrote this post while being ‘NON-ANGRY’

There will never be ‘Regular People’ serving in Sioux Falls city government ever again

We saw the writing on the wall when Alex Jensen and his cabal of donors had to spend $127K to beat a self-employed piano teacher by around 90 votes. The regular guy/gal is no longer allowed to compete.

Just look at the usual donors on the financial reports (someone should tell Andera that she can’t add her smaller contributions up twice 🙂

It is the same group of rich Republican businessmen and mysterious dark PACs (so some of these rich people can hide their identities) that are once again funding the campaigns of the NON-regular people (except Islam who seems to have half the state of Michigan gunning for her and they all work at the same hospital 🙂

You have to chuckle when Clowncilor Marshall Selfish actually suggested that the reason the members needed a bigger salary is so more regular people could run. That’s rich considering he never mentioned that you actually need the money up front.

We could change this with a couple of easy steps;

• Get rid of the Home Rule Charter as it exists and give more power back to council and,

• Publicly finance the races so everyone is on the same playing field.

We of course first must throw out the current charter, and there is a stew brewing on that one along with some other goodies I will share very soon.

So it looks like we will have yet another city election where a handful of people vote for the very people who are lining their pockets with donations from the banksters, bondsters and developers that are turning our city into a corporate welfare state.

This is the current lineup for the election;

Mayoral Race; Paul TenHaken, David Zokaites, Taneeza Islam

Central District; Curt Soehl (No challengers)

Southeast District; David Barranco (No Challengers)

At Large (A); Janet Brekke, Bobbi Andera, Dr. Sarah Cole

At Large (B); Rich Merkouris, Pam Cole

Sioux Falls City Council folds like a wet paper bag

At the meeting tonight the council decided that after councilor Brekke shot holes in their pay raise proposal and offered an amendment to reduce the pay raise by $30K (Proposal was $195K reduced to $165K and it is currently $130K) they voted for her amendment.

They did it, because I would assume they got an earful from constituents over the past week about how ridiculous the original proposal was. Even people I talked to over the past week that have no clue about what happens at city hall scoffed at a 30% pay increase and the fact that the mayor accosted me in the lobby of Carnegie Hall about it. Someone asked me, “What’s his deal?” I responded, “You would have to ask his chiropractor, or his pastor, I think they are one in the same.”

They passed this amendment to save face in hopes that citizens will vote for the lesser increase and they might, it certainly is more palatable.

I still reject it because little to no research was done on the original proposal and the whole thing needs to be thrown out. It was pretty freaking obvious the original proposal reflected a $1 per resident, which is something a 3rd grader would have concocted, or former Councilor Rex Rolfing.*

I’m glad it was reduced, but it was only reduced so it has a better chance of passing. I have already talked to some people with a strategy on how we will inform the public to vote this down. The council needs to go back to the drawing board.

In other news I have heard a couple things through the grapevine;

• There may be a group working on initiative to throw out Home Rule Charter in Sioux Falls. I am absolutely NOT involved, but I would be willing to support them in anyway.

• There is also talk that two more mayoral candidates may emerge. I am told both are male and Republican. I may know one of them, but uncertain who the other candidate is. I know there is a lot of frustration with Paul’s cruise control government in the business sector.

*In the past during a working session in which the council was discussing swimming pool fees, Rolfing pulled a number literally from his his behind, in which Erpenbach chewed him out about how he came up with it. She basically told him the numbers have to be based on study and research not what happens between his ass cheeks (she really didn’t say that, but she was pretty PO’d).

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Councilors work 30 hours a week? LOL!

As a person who actually has followed council legislation for around 20 years, I am pretty good at calculating how much ‘work’ is put into the job. But some of them seem to pad the numbers;

Most councilors have outside jobs and work at least 30 hours a week for the city. Doing the math at the current pay, a city councilor currently makes $12.57 per hour.

I’ll guess the reporter didn’t come to this estimate on her own, I’m sure it is what she was told. I will admit I have known councilors over the years that have committed way more then 30 hours a week to the position, there are at least three of them now that put in at least that or more. But if you just calculate face time on the dais (official public meetings) with actual interaction with constituents, the math comes to about 10-15 hours a week. There are three things I would consider ‘work’ when it comes to councilors time; 1) Public meetings, 2) research, education, document review and legislation creation and 3) responding to constituent phone calls and emails. Going to community events and eating free donuts and lunches with business people that are trying to influence your vote doesn’t fall under ‘work’ more like a fringe benefit. It’s easy to figure out who fully spends time doing these things and those that don’t just by watching discussion and how easily things pass. I think some councilors think ‘work’ is concocting deals behind the scene with each other and business friends is part of the job, I know the last mayor certainly thought that, but that is a perk and NOT a job duty.

I just find it extremely ironic that one of the laziest councilors who hasn’t had an original idea since he graced the dais is the one proposing a 30% raise.

I also don’t think the salary of councilors is what is holding people back from running;

Sioux Falls City Councilor Marshall Selberg hopes to attract more people to public service in the future, as Mayor or on the Council.

“We want the best and the brightest in this job, and quite frankly, compensation as a part of that conversation,” said Selberg.

It is what it costs to run for the office that seems to break records every election cycle that is a deterrent. Jensen raised $127K and only beat Stehly by under a 100 votes. How does an average person like a mechanic or call center rep even compete with that? They can’t. They don’t want these kind of people on the council and that is why the banksters, developers and bondsters pad the campaigns to keep the average citizen off the dais, it happens in school board races also. I have argued for a long time that the city races should be publicly funded to even the playing field and base the campaigns on the best ideas not who has the most yard signs. Money in the local races is the rot that is holding back true constituent advocates. Just think if we took that 30% raise ($245K increase in the first year) and spent it on publicly funded campaigns instead? I think we would get much more bang for our buck.

UPDATE: This is some research I did in 2018 about director pay.

I also sent this email response to Mike Zitterich and the city council after Mike suggested we base Mayoral pay on CAFR;

Mike, Let’s look at some data.

Average median pay for individuals in Sioux Falls is $33,500

Average CEO pay is $143,000 (9%)

Highest CEO pay is $182,000 (4%)

Highest percentage (20%) is $80,000

But public leadership should NEVER be compared to private leadership. CEO pay is based on how well a company’s profits perform. The city is not a ‘company’ it is a ‘service’. I tell you all the time, local government is easy, collect taxes, provide services, be transparent.

If you compare mayoral and city manager pay in the region (Fargo, Des Moines, Lincoln, Omaha and Minneapolis) it varies between $100-$200. Minneapolis mayor makes $126,000 with a population of 430K+ but the 13 city councilors run the city and he only has jurisdiction over the police.

There are different forms of government so it is complicated, but as far as I can tell no one bases pay on the population or the CAFR. It is pretty obvious that the SF proposal is based on paying the mayor $1 per person and not on actual regional data.

Even if you look at director pay in the region for example Lincoln, NE which has a population of 283,000 about the highest a director can make is around $150,000 with most in that $80-90K range.

Let’s face it, if this would have been researched better and an actual comprehensive study was done (I did basic research in 1 hour), the result would be that the mayor and council is already being well compensated and further more that directors make quite a bit more regionally, this is without factoring in the lower cost of living in Sioux Falls. Does anyone actually believe the mayor’s salary should be 6X more than the average citizen in this community? I don’t and I would suggest you withdraw this proposal and start from scratch with real data and study before you experience the humiliation at the ballot box when most voters will reject this handily.

Is a Sioux Falls City Council Candidate trying to buy votes?

Not quite sure if this violates campaign rules, but it sure looks suspicious. If it was a fundraiser and had an entry donation, that would be different. Hoping he will put on a FREE kegger event soon at one of our fine micro-breweries.

Sioux Falls City Council to propose Charter Amendments

Since the CRC rejected proposals from citizens the council is going to take a stab at it. While I don’t agree with some of the proposals, I do commend them for putting it on the ballot and letting the voters decide instead of them since most of their amendments are bad ideas like runoffs in council races and moving public input to the back of the meeting.

Let’s look at the proposals, mostly coming from a couple of short-timers;

Item #13, Raising mayoral pay to be in line with director pay ($195K). This is of course is a back door effort to raise councilor pay. Council pay I believe is 15% of mayoral pay, but don’t quote me on that, which would raise their salaries to $29K up $10K a year. Councilors have been butt hurt for a long time because they don’t get paid what the county commissioners do. I actually think $19K a year is too much for the bare minimum of work they do. I actually think director pay should be in line with mayoral pay, not the other way around. Sioux Falls pays directors better than almost any city in the region, and we are the only city with a Medical Director that happens to be the highest paid city employee. If this goes to voters it will fail at least by 60% if not more.

Item #14, City Council terminating city attorney. Ironically they are also proposing allowing the city council to fire the city attorney. I support this because the City Attorney should be representing the city with the best interest of the taxpayers NOT the mayor or even the city council. I have even suggested that the City Attorney and Police Chief should be elected. I’m not sure how citizens would vote on this, it could be close. I think some people feel that since the mayor appoints the city attorney he should be the only one to fire him. That is a misconception, because the council already has to approve the appointment so they should be able to fire the city attorney also. I heard a rumor that this is coming up because our current head city attorney really blows at his job and the council has been very frustrated with him.

Item #15, Bounce Back for head city attorney. The city council has been on this kick lately of bouncing directors back. It’s complete BS! Directors are NOT union employees, so they have no protections if terminated. The reason is because they have a 6-Figure salary and enormous benefits package. By allowing them to ‘bounce back’ to their previous job seems like a non-manager union perk. Unfortunately this item WILL NOT BE VOTED ON BY CITIZENS, THIS IS A COUNCIL DECISION. My argument is that in the private sector when Bob gets promoted to a department manager after being an assistant manager, people below him get promoted, and if he fails at the job and gets put back in his old position it has a domino effect on the employees below him which can cause a lot of resentment and contribute to low morale. In the real world when you apply to be a manager and you can’t handle the job, you go bye bye or move to another department. Why would the city want to keep on a city attorney who is NOT qualified to be the lead attorney but good enough for an assistant? If you can’t cut it as the top city attorney, you should get your walking papers.

Like I said already, I’m glad to see the council is allowing the citizens to vote on the first two items, I just think they are lousy ideas that will mostly fail, proving just out of touch our supposed leaders are.

UPDATE: Does a Specialist Doctor have the time to Serve on the Sioux Falls City Council?

UPDATE: I found Cole’s boilerplate website. After the 5 minute read, I’m really not sure how Cole would be much different than what we currently have on the council. She does belong to a book club though.

As someone joked to me, “Don’t you know we need someone from both hospitals on the council now since we have a banker from Sioux Falls #1 Bank.”

Unfortunately, their joke will probably come true.

This week a Specialist Doctor in Sioux Falls announced they are running for city council and while I could comment on several fronts why they don’t qualify, I am mostly concerned about their time constraints. As I have been told by peeps in the medical field, they probably can rearrange their schedule to make it work, but what’s the point? This person literally has NO political foot print. I can’t even find if they have served on ANY non-profit or semi-governmental boards in the community.

It is however pretty obvious why someone with such a busy schedule was ‘picked’ by the golden team, because they would make an excellent rubber stamper who would never question the mayor’s agenda and quickly move stuff along and get home in time for bedtime stories.

While I agree we need all walks of life serving on the council, I would much more prefer to see more piano teachers than specialist doctors. Representation of the common Jill and Joe on the council has almost disappeared and that is because of the enormous amount of money poured into these races by the SD GOP and Developers in this community and the Rah Rah Taupeville Churchies. It would be impossible to compete with the kind of money this candidate will raise. The only hope is the incumbent in the race (Janet Brekke) can ride into a second term based on her incumbency and solid voting record of mostly supporting the council agenda over the past 4 years while fighting for more transparency, legal clarity and long term planning.

While I commend this person for wanting to serve, I question if they even have seen a council meeting or know how city government works and that is exactly who the cruise controllers want.

Is South Dakota turning into a One-Party Dictatorship?

I guess we should not be surprised about the Amendment A ruling today.

There used to be a time where South Dakotans could actually fight the goofy one-party legislation and that was by putting sensible legislation on the ballot and through the court systems, and now those processes are rigged.

While the SD GOP has been successful taking over most of the local governing boards, the state legislature and the constitutional offices, they now have officially have taken over the courts.

I think the one dissenting SD Supreme Court Justice, Scott Myren said it best;

Myren’s dissent focused on the single-subject decision. He noted that Amendment A received substantial media attention and that voters were informed about its intent.

“I believe that the propositions in Constitutional Amendment A are ‘incidental to and necessarily connected with’ the object of providing a comprehensive plan for all phases of legalization, regulation, use, production, and sale of marijuana and related substances,” Myren wrote. 

He is exactly right. I can guarantee if you interviewed every single voter in that election, whether they voted NO or YES, they would all agree they knew by voting for this measure it would legalize Cannabis for Recreational use if passed. I don’t think the supporters of Amendment A were deceiving anyone. And as Myren also points out, with any initiative or amendment there is a factor of regulation, I also think voters understand that.

But I think the most important part of his dissent was this;

Myren says the majority “departs from the ‘Strong presumption of constitutionality’ we are to accord to Amendment A” and the will of the voters.

This is the most important part of the case, because the will of the voters should always be upheld. The SD Supreme Court could have done that while separating out the regulation part, but cowered to obvious political pressure from the Right Wing Dictatorship that runs the entire state;

Although the Court agreed that the first 13 sections of Amendment A were a single subject devoted to legalizing marijuana, it declined to separate that by finding those sections legal and the rest of the amendment unconstitutional. 

In other words, they could have agreed with Justice Myren that what the voters really wanted could have stood, while striking down the parts in the Amendment that need to be handled by the legislature (regulation and taxation) and the fact the other two parts (Industrial Hemp and Med MJ) are already legal and are moot.

There is also the question of how this even made it to the courts;

Ultimately, the Court ruled they didn’t have standing, but because Gov. Kristi Noem ratified the action, the challenge was valid.

“While Thom and Miller lacked standing to commence this action, our conclusion that the Governor ratified the prosecution of the action and is bound by the outcome of this litigation cures any standing defect,” Jensen wrote.

This part makes me question what kind of cooperation was going on between the governor’s office and the court system in private. How did Noem know she had to make this correction in mid-stream? And how is it that the governor can sue it’s own citizens (voters) while using their tax dollars to do so? That is the epitome of corruption and the foundation of any strong fascist regime. It’s mind boggling.

Like I said from the beginning, I wasn’t shocked of the outcome, South Dakotans have been voting in these clowns for years and we get what we deserve. The problem now is we have no way to remedy bad laws in the initiative process or the court system. We now are stuck with a regime we created by ignorantly electing radical right dictators that want to control our lives, so put that in your pipe and smoke it, cuz you got nothing else.

When it comes to the City of Sioux Falls politics most are oblivious

I could tell you how many people a day read my blog, but I don’t want to embarrass myself. But I had to laugh at the irony of this image. While Mayor Poops mayoral opponent talks about food insecurity, housing, public transit and building permitting on FB and gets about 3-4 comments, Poops talks about gravy and gets almost 500 comments. He has been riding the gravy train for over 3 years.